70. Standardized tests such as SAT9. . . How valid are these for the speakers of other languages?

TOTALLY INVALID!!!!! But, unfortunately, the fact that the tests are totally invalid does NOT prevent educators –under pressure by totally misguided state legislators and neglectful state superintendents of public instruction—to administer these standardized tests to those students for whom the test was NOT designed, or normed. Let me explain:

The concept of "validity" is a statistical concept that refers to the fact that a test measures whatever it is designed to measure. Now, standardized tests do not measure specific gains in knowledge, or specific bits or pieces of knowledge or understandings developed in students as the result of instruction. Rather, standardized tests measure very GENERAL ideas or concepts of what a student SHOULD know, what a student SHOULD understand by a certain grade or level. The standardized test is then shared with many teachers, experts, education specialists, etc., and these scholars "rate" the test, that is, approve of the questions in the tests as being VALID measures of the GENERAL ideas or concepts being tested. The test is then "field tested" to determine cut off points for different grade levels. For example, the test is given to tens of thousands of students in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc. The performance of these thousands of students determines the cut off points for passing the test in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, grade, etc.

During this field test, the racial and other characteristics of the students taking the test determine how VALID the test is for SIMILAR students. ALL standardized tests have been "validated" with mostly white, fluent English speaking students. Using a test thus validated with students who are non-white and non- or limited-English fluent or proficient, results in an INVALID implementation of the test, producing totally invalid test results. BUT POLITICS matters in testing. Thus, educational decisions are being made on the basis of invalid testing, invalid results, and invalid scores.

Educators have thrown their professionalism out the window and accepted such invalid educational decisions. Students are the ones suffering the consequences of such lack of professionalism.


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net